Julia Roberts pays tribute to ‘Notting Hill’ director Roger Michell upon his death

Acclaimed stage and film director Roger Michell died Wednesday, his publicist confirmed the news in a statement.

“It is with great sadness that the family of Roger Michell, director, writer and father of Harry, Rosie, Maggie and Sparrow, announce his death at the age of 65 on 22 September,” the statement read, according to The Guardian. No cause of death was given.

Michell is best known to American audiences for the 1999 romantic comedy “Notting Hill,” written by Richard Curtis and starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant. The film, which chronicled the romance between a London bookseller (Grant) and a famous American actress (Roberts), became the highest-grossing British movie of all time when it was released.

Roberts paid tribute to the director, whom she called “such a kind and gentle man,” in a statement to People.

“He always had a sweet grin on his face and a perfect piece of direction to share,” the Oscar-winning actress, 53, said. “I feel so fortunate to have had such a fantastic opportunity to work with him.”

Roger Michell attends the photocall of the movie "The Duke" at the 77th Venice Film Festival on Sept. 4, 2020 in Venice.
Roger Michell attends the photocall of the movie “The Duke” at the 77th Venice Film Festival on Sept. 4, 2020 in Venice. (Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

Michell was born in South Africa, where his father was stationed as a British diplomat, and raised in England.

He began his career as an assistant director at the famed Royal Court Theatre in London, where he worked with John Osborne and Samuel Beckett. He later served as resident director of the Royal Shakespeare Company for six years.

“Roger Michell was a brilliant director and a great friend and force at the Royal Court. He was loved by writers,” Royal Court tweeted on Thursday. “His death is a very sad loss.”

The prolific director was also known for 2010′s “Morning Glory,” starring Harrison Ford, Diane Keaton and Rachel McAdams, and 2012′s “Hyde Park on Hudson,” starring Bill Murray and Laura Linney.

Michell’s last films were 2019′s “Blackbird,” starring Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet, and Sony Picture Classic’s “The Duke,” a real-life art heist story starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren that premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.

“We are devastated and shocked by the news of the passing of our dear friend Roger Michell,” the independent film distributor said in a statement.

“We were just with him a few weeks ago in Telluride with ‘The Duke’ celebrating his exceptional accomplishment. Roger was a world-class filmmaker, one of the best AND and one of the loveliest and warmest people you will ever meet. We have been close since 1995 when we brought him and his first film ‘Persuasion’ to Telluride. Our heart goes out to his family and friends who are experiencing the profound sadness we all share,” the statement added.

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